Our Board


Gary Copolov

Chair Australian Patients Association

Gary is a Graduate of Monash University, where he completed studies in Law, Economics, Politics and Sociology. 

He is the founder and Managing Director of Gold Medal Marketing Pty Ltd. Gold Medal Marketing was established in 1991 to assist businesses to develop and implement winning Business Development Plans. Gold Medal Marketing provides consultancy and group workshop programs to manufacturers, retailers, importers and exporters. His experience involves Marketing and Management consultancy to a wide breadth of industries.

Stephen Mason


Chief Executive Officer

Stephen Mason was formerly CEO of Creative Brands Pty Ltd and Finance Director of ASX listed  Lemarne Corporation Ltd for over 10 years and Company Secretary of Lemarne Corporation for 20 years.He is a Director of Heritage Brands Limited and is Chairman of its Audit Committee and is also a Director/Secretary of two other private companies.Stephen has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce from Melbourne University as well as a Diploma in Corporate Management. He is a Fellow of both the CPA and CSA, where he lectures occasionally, as well as a Justice of the Peace.Stephen has had previous experience managing start up organisations and is a life member of three clubs and/or associations. He has had strong community involvement in various clubs and not-for-profit organisations, including, Lord Somers Camp, Powerhouse, the VAFA and Save our Suburbs.

Michael Riley

BA (Public Relations)

Executive Director Strategy

Michael Riley has over 30 years’ experience in corporate affairs, government relations and advocacy, media relations, issues management, stakeholder engagement and grass roots community campaigns. His background includes experience in the public and private health sectors, the global pharmaceutical industry, large ASX listed companies, a government owned authority, industry associations and as a consultant to companies operating in highly regulated industries around the world. He commenced his career as a journalist with News Limited and has a Bachelor of Arts degree.

In 2010, he founded the Australian Patients Association and has worked in the NFP sector advocating for victims of elder abuse.

Ian Nathaniel


Ian Nathaniel is a Dispute Resolution partner with Piper Alderman. He has over 25 years of experience in litigation nationally. Ian’s practice includes a broad range of dispute resolution expertise including corporate, commercial, trade practices and insurance litigation having worked across many industries, for example manufacturing, automotive, transport and logistics, health and life sciences, pharmaceutical and agribusiness.

He has worked with a range of clients in large litigation to mid-sized cases involving individuals and companies in Australia and overseas. His experience includes representing clients in all jurisdictions within Australia and has had the conduct of commercial and insurance litigation proceedings in the US, UK and Europe and given advice in international arbitration matters in the US and Canada. Ian is the lead partner in the firms Australia – India and SE Asia practice.

Ian has also been involved and is an expert in managing Royal Commissions and quasi-judicial proceedings for clients in various tribunals on a national basis.

Jeanine Purdie

Jeanine Purdie, formerly a Registered Nurse in Queensland, has also worked in media, marketing, advertising and property sales in both Brisbane and Melbourne. Jeanine is knowledgable on issues affecting the healthcare system and has a keen interest in social justice and assisting the disadvantaged in the community. Jeanine juggles a busy household, is involved in her children’s schooling and sporting interests and when time permits will complete her Masters in Business. Jeanine is passionate about the longevity of Australian Patients Association in striving to assist all Australian patients.

John Shinkfield

Dip F.S. (Brok), ANZIIF (Sen. Assoc), QPIB, CIP

John Shinkfield is an influential and experienced International Insurance Broker with over 46 years of uninterrupted practice in the Insurance Broking industry. He has also worked in the London insurance market as well as traveled extensively to expand his expertise. His focus during this extended period beside holding a number of Executive Management and Directorial positions has been the procurement, placement and maintenance of large corporate insurance programmes, with the Mining Industry being a specialist interest of recent years. Captive Insurance Company management coupled with Risk Management practices and Risk Identification are areas that have also occupied his interest over an extended period. The art of negotiation being a fundamental requirement in fulfilling a successful Insurance Broker role.

Jas Streten

General Manager

Jas Streten has held senior management roles in the private sector across a number of business functions including Sales, Operations and Logistics.

His previous and current experience includes, board membership of two community organisations, Deputy Chair of the Community Advisory Committee, The Innovation Committee and Specialist Clinics committees at a Melbourne Public Hospital, membership of Consumer Health Forum and Health Issues Centre.

Wendy Benson

Administration Manager

Wendy Benson comes to join Australian Patient Association as Administration Manager after a serious illness caused her to reassess her life.   To this end she wanted to give back to the health industry in a ‘hand on’ constructive way.

In the past Wendy has had a very diversified background as a Director of various different businesses including Serviced Apartments, Trade Exchanges and Real Estate

She has a wealth of knowledge from a patient and consumer perspective and sits on many committees and project working groups at  some of our larger public hospitals   To this end she is currently serving as Chair of one of the Community Advisory Committees

Married with 2 children and 2 wonderful grandchildren Wendy wants to help to raise the APA to the next level of involvement and ensure that the Association name becomes the first thing that patients and families think of when they require assistance.